Reviews by Dai Alanye

Into the Primitive

by Robert Ames Bennet

Sort of a takeoff on quite similar but better stories by Jack London, among others—the man and maiden stranded on a desert isle. Or in this case, on an isolated bit of African beach, and two men to a single maiden.

The girl is wealthy and refined, there's a refined Englishman, and a crude, beastly American who happens to be the only one with the knowledge and brute strength to keep all alive. Think Grace Kelly, David Niven and Ernest Borgnine.

As with all these turn of the twentieth century tales no crudities are allowed, and the delicate female must be protected from anything frightening or coarse, while lust is merely hinted at.

This story breaks a few of those rules but it's still a load of codswallop in my view. Natural history is greatly distorted, as well, with lions and leopards offering little more danger than tabby cats, with "fever" lurking in bad air, bad water and over-exertion.

Thorough suspension of disbelief is recommended.

Reviewed on 2014.12.30

Invasion

by Murray Leinster

Murray Leinster never had a particularly sophisticated writing style but plenty of imagination and sense of adventure. As for sexual metaphors in his works, he wasn't that subtle. Sometimes, as we all should recognize, a cigar is only a cigar.

This is probably one of his earlier stories, and cannot be recommended for anything more than laughs, but look at his other efforts for greater value.

Reviewed on 2014.12.30

The Iron Trail

by Rex Beach

A rousing good story of Alaska and its local robber barons, though almost spoiled by excessive hero worship. Beach knew how to write, and most of his stories are worth a look.

Men of iron and whipcord and the brave women who played coy in their presence, including one non-standard heroine.

Reviewed on 2014.12.30

Between the Lines

by Boyd Cable

A pretty good set of fictionalized but seemingly accurate tales of various units in action on the Western Front during WW I.

Reviewed on 2014.12.26

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